Pros and cons | Texas realtor commissions | What’s required | Preparing | Marketing tips | FSBO costs | Paperwork and documents | Alternatives | Should you sell FSBO? | FAQs
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If you want to sell a house for sale by owner (FSBO) in Texas, that means selling your house without the help of a realtor. Sellers choose this option to save money on expensive realtor commission fees, but selling FSBO is difficult and time-intensive. There’s also the danger of selling your house for less than it’s worth, so it’s vital that you price your home correctly.
Instead, you may want to consider a low commission real estate agent from our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever is a nationwide low commission brokerage that can pair you with top-performing, local agents who can help sell your house for 1.5% or $3,000. You’ll save thousands on commission fees without any of the DIY.
👋 Match with a Clever agent and see how much you can save today!
However, selling FSBO can be the right move for some sellers. Here’s what you need to know for a successful sale in the Lone Star State.
Pros and Cons of Selling For Sale By Owner in Texas
Selling FSBO isn’t the right choice for everyone. But homeowners who prefer more control rather than being hands-off may appreciate selling their home FSBO.
|👍 FSBO Pros||👎 FSBO Cons|
|No seller’s agent commission fee||Still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission|
|Total control over the sale||Setting the right price is difficult|
|Can still get on the MLS with a flat fee listing service||It can take a longer time to sell|
|Can show the house on your own terms||You have to do all the negotiating|
|No risk of getting a bad agent||LOTS of paperwork to handle|
|You have a ton of knowledge about your house||Limited access to marketing channels|
How Real Estate Agent Commissions Work in Texas
Real estate agents don’t work for hourly or weekly wages. Instead, agents earn commission, or a percentage of the home’s sale price — usually about 2.5-3%, each. According to Clever Real Estate’s data center, which surveyed 915 Texas agents, the average real estate agent commission in Texas is 5.59%.
Agents are motivated to sell because they only get paid if the deal goes through.
Typically, buyer’s and seller’s agents split the commission 50/50. As of May 2022, the median home sale price in Texas is $446,225. If the total commission is 5.59%, that would equal $24,940. Each agent would receive $12,470 in a 50/50 commission split.
If there is no seller’s agent, the seller only pays the buyer’s agent commission fee. That means you would save $12,470 in realtor fees when selling FSBO.
However, commission fees aren’t always split evenly between agents. Clever’s data center found that Texas seller’s agents charge 2.71% on average while Texas buyer’s agents charge 2.88%. If that’s the case in your home sale, then you would be paying slightly more to the buyer’s agent.
Fortunately, you get a lot for your money when you pay commission. The fee covers agent services, including helping you price your home, marketing, and negotiating with home buyers.
» MORE: How Texas realtor commission fees stack up against other states
What it Takes to Sell Your House Without a Realtor in Texas
Listing your home for sale yourself is hard work. It also requires an investment on your part — you must arrange and pay upfront for everything a real estate agent would do. These tasks include:
- 💲 Pricing your home accurately
- 🏡 Improving curb appeal
- 🤗 Managing open houses and making buyers feel welcome
- 📸 Photographing your home (and possibly staging)
- 🔨 Making repairs and arranging pre-inspections or pre-appraisals
- 🎤 Marketing your home on social media like Facebook and popular FSBO websites
- ✎ Managing your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing (if you pay for a flat fee MLS service)
- 🤔 Finding and negotiating with home buyers and their agent
- 🙅 Meeting or rejecting repair requests
- ⏰ Setting deadlines in the purchase contract for contingencies
Selling for sale by owner in Texas might not be best if you’ll struggle to manage those tasks alongside other obligations, such as a job or a family.
Pricing strategy and marketing is an especially difficult task. On average, FSBO homes sell for about 6% less than agented homes. Agents can rely on the MLS to find buyers. Individuals can’t list homes on the MLS, but FSBO sellers can pay to have a flat fee listing company to list their home on the MLS.
FSBO sellers should hire a real estate attorney to handle the sales contract and purchase agreement. Typically, real estate agents manage this process. But as a the lone seller, hiring an attorney helps prevent mistakes and possible violations that can invalidate the contract or leave yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit.
How to Sell a House for Sale By Owner in Texas
Preparing your home for sale by owner in Texas requires a lot of legwork on your behalf. First, you must get your home ready and appealing to buyers. Then, you need to market the house to help your buyer find it.
Preparing Your Texas FSBO House Sale
Make repairs and updates like fresh paint, carpet cleaning, and covering eyesores. Clean and declutter your home of excess belongings, furniture, and family photos before taking pictures or conducting an open house.
Stage your home and consider including a home office. More home buyers are looking for a home workspace because more families are involved in remote or home schooling and remote work.
Once the house is ready to show, hire a professional photographer to make your home look spacious and light-filled.
Finally, set a competitive price that attracts buyers by looking at comparable homes in your area. This is the trickiest part in selling a home. A home that’s priced too high will stagnate on the market, while a home that’s priced too low means someone else is getting a bargain.
Some agents will give you a free comparative market analysis (CMA) as part of their marketing strategy. If you’re looking for a free CMA, we recommend our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever can match you with up to three local agents who will evaluate your home and tell you what they think it should list for.
If you match with a Clever agent and decide that you have a better shot at selling with them rather than going it alone, great! Pick them and you’ll pay just a 1.5% commission fee for homes sold over $350,000 or $3,000 for home sales below that amount. If you can’t find an agent you love, no problem! Clever is free and you can go right back to selling FSBO, no strings attached.
Listing and Marketing Your FSBO House in Texas
Marketing your home for sale by owner in Texas is key to attracting the right buyers. Here’s how to get the word out:
- Share the listing on social media and consider buying ads.
- Email the listing to friends, family, and local real estate agencies.
- Buy a physical sign for the yard, print postcards, and buy newspaper ads.
- Host an open house and put signs/balloons on the main road to direct buyers to your home.
Be sure to write an effective home listing description. Be creative and descriptive, highlighting outdoor living, energy-efficient, and interior features.
Focus on the positive aspects about your home’s location. For example, point out its proximity to parks, trails, public transportation, attractions, schools, and other attractions and conveniences.
Lastly, list your home on major real estate sites like Zillow and FSBO.com, and hire a flat fee MLS company to list it on the MLS.
» MORE: Is Selling FSBO on Zillow Really Worth It?
Costs of Selling for Sale By Owner in Texas
If you don’t want to work with a realtor, you must cover all the costs to list and market your home and prepare the legal disclosures and documents yourself. These costs may include:
- Real estate attorney fees for handling and reviewing paperwork
- Pre-inspections, pre-appraisals, and property surveys
- Professional photography costs
- Professional cleaning costs
- Buyer’s agent’s commission (about 2-3% of the home price)
There is no definitive answer about exactly how selling FSBO costs since each home is different. However, using pricing provided by HomeAdvisor, Clever’s data center found that the average cost to sell a house by owner is about 7.5% of the sales price. Considering the median sale price of a Texas home comes in at $446,225, budget for $33,470 (plus many hours of work).
Here’s how those costs break down:
|Real estate attorney||$2,500-$3,000|
|Flat fee MLS company||$200-$400|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.88%|
|Transfer taxes, title insurance and other closing costs||2-7% of the purchase price|
Paperwork for Selling a House By Owner in Texas
The entire process from getting your house ready to sell to closing the deal involves a lot of paperwork. Much of that paperwork involves meeting legal requirements, such as seller disclosure laws and property descriptions sufficient to identify it for legal purposes.
In Texas, you’re required to have these documents for all traditional home sales:
- Two forms of ID
- Copy of the purchase contract
- Bill of sale
- Closing statement
- Affidavit of title
- Seller’s disclosure notice
- Lead-based paint disclosure for homes built before 1978
Additional forms that may be necessary include:
- Mortgage payoff statement
- Homeowners insurance policy
- HOA documents
- Repair and maintenance records
- Proof of requested repairs made
- Water/sewer inspection results
- Property survey results
- Listing agreement if listing on the MLS
- Title review documents
- Additional disclosure forms, like a flood zone statement
- Offer and amendment forms
- Home inspection report
- Termite inspection report
- Professional appraisal forms
A few of these items you can handle on your own. However, you may want to hire an attorney that specializes in real estate to help with the more detailed documents.
Alternatives to Selling FSBO in Texas
Instead of selling your home yourself, you can try alternatives like selling your home to a cash investor or iBuyer, using a flat fee MLS agency, or a discount real estate service.
If your home needs significant repairs but you don’t want to make the repairs yourself, you may want to consider a cash investor. Be aware that cash investors will pay a maximum of 70% of the home’s after repair value, minus repair costs.
So if an investor thinks your home is worth $300,000 after renovations, but requires $75,000 to get there, they would offer you a maximum of $135,000 ($300,000 x 0.70 – $75,000 = $135,000).
An iBuyer is a tech-oriented real estate company that buys houses for cash, makes minor repairs, and sells them for a profit. You won’t get top dollar for your home, but eligible houses can sell fast, and cash offers can strengthen your next home purchase. Offerpad is an iBuyer that operates in many metro areas in Texas and can close a home in a little as 15 days.
Not all homes are eligible, though. IBuyers often have guidelines for what houses they’ll buy. For example, Offerpad won’t buy any home built before 1960 and it can’t come with a lot size of over one acre.
»💡 See how much cash buyers will pay for your home.
Discount Real Estate Services in Texas
Discount or low-commission real estate services help home sellers list their homes for a lower listing fee than traditional agents. Instead of paying the traditional 2.5-3% fee, you can pay 2% or less. Some companies even offer a fee as low as 1%.
» MORE: The Best Low-Commission Real Estate Companies in 2022
Flat Fee MLS Services
The main service a flat fee MLS company offers is to post your home on the local MLS. In Texas, there’s flat fee MLS companies typically charge $200-$400.
Some companies offer additional services like additional photos, lockboxes, yard signs, and photography for an additional fee.
» MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Flat Fee MLS Companies
Is Selling FSBO in Texas Right for You?
Texas homeowners considering FSBO should be prepared for a long road ahead. Sales preparation takes significant time and financial investment, as does marketing your home.
If you have a lot of real estate experience, or are looking to become a real estate investor, selling FSBO is a good idea. But for most traditional home sellers, we recommend using an agent.
However, we don’t think you should pay the average Texas seller’s agent commission fee of 2.71%. That’s why we’ve partnered with Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates low commission rates with top-performing brokerages like RE/MAX and Coldwell Banker and passes the savings on to you.
Clever can match you with pre-vetted local agents who can help sell your home for maximum value and for just a 1.5% listing fee (or $3,000 on home sales below $350,000). Clever’s agent-matching service is totally free to use, so if Clever can’t find you an agent you love, you can go right back to selling FSBO.
On a $450,000 house, you would only pay $6,750 to list with Clever. A regular Texas realtor would charge $12,200 with a 2.71% listing fee — that’s a savings of $5,550!
The average Clever seller actually saves a bit more — about $7,000 on average.
Want to learn more? Connect with a Clever agent today! Plug in your ZIP code below for a free home value estimation and then match with an agent who can set the right price for your home.
💰 How Much Is Your Home Worth?
Before listing your home, find out how it compares to others in your local market.
FAQs About Selling for Sale By Owner in Texas
Can you sell a house in Texas without a realtor?
Selling a house without a realtor in Texas is possible, but it’s a challenge that’s not suitable for all home sellers. Learn more about whether or not you should sell your house yourself in Texas.
What paperwork do I need for selling a house by owner in Texas?
At a minimum, you will need two forms of ID, a copy of the purchase contract, the deed, closing statement, title, disclosure notice, and the title. Some home sales require more documents. Learn more about the paperwork you need when selling without a realtor in Texas.